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Questions tagged [idioms]

Idioms are a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words. Use [idiom-requests] if you are searching for an idiom with a particular meaning.

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6
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1answer
104 views

Why have Jack or John have been used as euphemisms to refer to a toilet in particular?

I was watching an American show called Breaking Bad and they use this phrase: Can I use your John’s? to mean Can I use your toilet? As it stands the origin has been mentioned here, courtesy to ...
8
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16answers
2k views

Word or idiom defining something barely functional

How can I refer to something that barely works given a certain context and can get broken at any moment? The thing is: I wrote some geometry calculations in an application that will work in our ...
4
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2answers
142 views

I can't understand this sentence. It's from a video game Baldur's Gate

I don't speak English well. Please understand my bad grammar. I'm not a native English speaker. Recently I am playing a video game Baldur's Gate in English. And I found this from the game. ...
0
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1answer
41 views

What's the difference between “the seat in front of you” and “the seat in front of yours”? [duplicate]

I came across an airline announcement and the following question arose. Which would you say it is THE correct sentence, and why? For your comfort and safety, please stow the luggage labelled with the ...
1
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2answers
73 views

Is there a word for when the situation returns to normal after chaos?

Imagine a situation where the Internet connection at your office of 1000 people goes down. You, as the IT person, are responsible for fixing it. You immediately turn on the red lights and alarms. Two ...
0
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1answer
46 views

Is there a phrase/idiom that refers to the irony of putting off a task or goal when it's easiest to achieve?

Or one that refers to taking an opportunity for granted when it is right there in front of you?
24
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3answers
5k views

Why is it “on the inside” and not “in the inside”?

The expression "in the inside" appears to be logical (because insides are closed spaces with boundaries) but the more common expression is "on the inside." What’s the reason behind this usage?
4
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4answers
12k views

Etymology of 'I take your question' meaning 'I don't know'

In former special council Mueller's testimony before Congress, Mueller used the response "I take your question" a few times when he could not answer. This response isn't heard often and as such news ...
2
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1answer
65 views

Is there any equivalent of “roll over in his grave” for someone who is alive?

Recently my friend and I were talking about something that would cause great dismay to our other mutual friend, and he said "if X knew about this, he would roll over in his grave, if he were dead." ...
4
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2answers
400 views

Idioms: Should it be “ the internet is a seemingly infinite well of information” or “the internet is a seemingly infinite wealth of information”

The title says it all. I have heard the phrase used either way, but "well" makes more sense to me. My editor and I are both at a stalemate with this one.
1
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1answer
72 views

The phrase 'mentally check out'

I asked an older English person about this phrase, but he was unaware of it. Is it new slang that someone of his generation wouldn’t have heard, or is it strictly American English? I don't have an ...
1
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1answer
62 views

When should I use 'side' in relation to a cube/cuboid?

Suppose I have a cube, and want to number each side from 1 to 6 in the following fashion: "number X corresponds to the [name of side] of the cube". Is there any guide to whether I should use the ...
1
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1answer
50 views

A company's most important person in a specific task

Please suppose that the following image is a company including all of its staff, supporters, leaders and key members where the bowman and the bow and the arrow are the whole company including all the ...
1
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1answer
46 views

Idiom for something that can not be defined, such as job satisfaction

What could be the idioms used for saying something that can not be defined, such as job satisfaction.
0
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1answer
87 views

Using the preposition For to indicate a purpose

I am curious to know if the usage of "for" in the sentence below is grammatical? The reason why “socioeconomical understanding” is chosen as the umbrella section is for it to mediate the ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Where did “a racist bone in [one's] body” and “a mean bone in [one's] body” come from?

A recent tweet by the U.S. president includes this assurance: I don't have a Racist bone in my body! A blog post by David Graham, "The One Color the White House Sees Clearly" at The Atlantic ...
0
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1answer
53 views

To get someone on…?

I'm Japanese student learning English. In this tweet(https://twitter.com/HoopDistrictDC/status/1149523950587662336), it says "Rui been on the team for like two weeks and he already got us on!" What ...
2
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1answer
100 views

Why do people say “no offense” when starting a sentence?

English is my second language and I mainly learn it from shows like modern family and the bigbang theory. I know what “no offense” means, but I don’t think I fully understand its usage. I’ve seen ...
3
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2answers
187 views

Where did Shakespeare get milk of human kindness from?

In Shakespeare's 1606 play "Macbeth" the titular character is filled with ambition to become king. His wife, Lady Macbeth, says to him: Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o' the milk of human ...
28
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9answers
12k views

Why are they 'nude photos'? [duplicate]

Recent news events in the US have resulted in many headlines about "nude photos of young women" and variations. Obviously it's the women who are nude, not the photos, so why does this phrasing ...
5
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3answers
479 views

Those who speak do not know, those who know do not speak

We have this idiom-like saying in Turkish. The idea is that there are certain things, topics, etc., if one talks about it, it strongly suggests that he has no idea what he is talking about, else he ...
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2answers
60 views

First use of phrase, “That’s not going to fly.”

Would anyone one be able to ferret out the first-known use of the phrase or idiom, “That’s not going to fly”? Thank you.
0
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1answer
44 views

To collect someone or to pick someone - UK English

What would a receptionist say to someone having an appointment: "Please, take a seat; someone from company ABC is on the way to collect (?) you". What is more more idiomatic in a formal UK English: ...
1
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1answer
66 views

Please parse the phrase “time is of the essence”

Working many years in the legal field, I've seen the phrase, "time is of the essence," many times; I fully understand its meaning. What has always bothered me, though, is that the phrase doesn't seem ...
0
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3answers
89 views

What's the meaning of “there's no stinkin' way” in this paragraph?

When I started explaining the project’s work scope to people in the school, I learned quickly that most believed the technology classes would be my biggest challenge. One special education teacher’s ...
0
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1answer
47 views

To have your blinkers on

On the eve of England India World Cup cricket match on 30.6.2019, Jos Buttler said "The mood in the camp is still very good. Naturally there is some external pressure and it would be naive to say we ...
0
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0answers
18 views

Alternatives for “paint oneself into a corner” [duplicate]

The evidence the unbelievers are looking for must be in the form of a miracle. And that is where they paint themselves into a corner. They have unshakable faith that everything must have a ...
0
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1answer
41 views

“Giving you with style or in style” meaning and usage idiom

I am doing fashion online shopping. I am selling branded products to my customers. In my shopping page, I want to show logo short word. What I want to show is I want to give my customer with style. So ...
3
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1answer
51 views

The Cliché of Using the Phrase “[Subject], and You” in Article Titles

I've noticed articles or news stories often use the phrase "[Subject], and You" in titles. I assume the intention here is creating a personal connection with the readers regarding a topic. For ...
0
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2answers
222 views

English equivalent of the Hindi saying “Dusre par bill fadna”, meaning “putting on others what YOU want”

What is the English equivalent of the Hindi saying "Dusre par bill fadna"? The meaning of the Hindi saying is stating a request as though it is others who want it when in fact it is you who want it ...
0
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1answer
39 views

Beyond reproach - alternative expressions

What are some alternative, diplomatic ways to say "beyond reproach", "above question", "of the path that is ethically spotless/sound and cannot be challenged". I was thinking, "unquestionable", but ...
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3answers
81 views

“wore at” vs “wore out”

Is the use of "wore at" vs "wore out" the same? Few Google examples: "She was tired of apologizing for the intractability of the land, its people, for the distances that wore at him, the endless ...
1
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1answer
77 views

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but with a more negative connotation [duplicate]

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It means: what matters is what something is, not what it's called. I feel like this phrase has a very positive ...
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0answers
10 views

What is the term to describe the state that I always experience, the rhythm of a song repeating in my head? [duplicate]

I usually obsess a song for a long time cause of its rhythm. I hear a song for weeks. Even when I'm on the road, its rhythm continues to play in my imagination. So what is the word or expression to ...
1
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1answer
158 views

What does it mean “to queer the pudding”?

In today's Observer, columnist Jonathan Bouquet mentions Jon Snow on Channel 4 News while interviewing Jacob Rees Mogg, having used the expression to queer the pudding. Bouquet refers to it as a "new ...
0
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1answer
35 views

Using 'a dime a dozen' in the 'so…that' construction

This Forbes article titled "There Are 6 'Strongest Materials' On Earth That Are Harder Than Diamonds" has this paragraph: The quest to make materials harder, stronger, more scratch-resistant, ...
1
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1answer
50 views

the meaning of the expression “on the eye”

Can someone tell me what this expression means? "on the eye" It accounts for the scene I witnessed in the barracks: after a particularly tasteless dinner, which was left uneaten by most of the ...
4
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2answers
209 views

Ruining the family name [closed]

Is the following correct usage? "They didn't want me to ruin the family name. " What are some other idiomatic expressions or phrases to say something similar? I am aware of "give a bad name" and "one'...
2
votes
1answer
192 views

“Tell and sell” idiom

Recently I was asked to evaluate my manager's work. One of the questions was whether he is a "tell and sell" person (I don't remember the exact phrase however). I'm not sure what this idiom means (or ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

An idiom meaning “a good horse is called a sorrel, a good young man is called fearless/crazy/bold”

Is there any idiom in English similar to Horse as boy, (brave) man as kook (are best). in which boy means sorrel. The latter is obvious. It is my translation(maybe it is wrong) to describe the ...
1
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2answers
166 views

Where is the saying “A for away” from?

I have recently picked up the saying "A for away" (meaning, we are good to go/ready to go). I am English but live in South Africa and watch American TV, so I have no idea where this saying is from. Is ...
0
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1answer
48 views

How to translate “for *cough* decades”?

I came across a sentence in a comment in Stack Exchange Workplace which I can not translate: have been freelance for *cough* decades Can anyone help me? Here is the link to original post - see ...
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0answers
82 views

I have problems with some Irish slang

I am translating a text set in Ireland and there are some Irish phrases that I do not understand. 1- Bartley Butt-end-of-the-village: I could only find one reference in the internet. Does this mean a ...
1
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0answers
34 views

Word for participating in solving a puzzle?

Is there a word or short phrase for collaboratively solving a puzzle, or to describe the individual's role in that collaboration? Looking for something specific to solving something, ideally puzzles, ...
1
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1answer
76 views

Origin of “a hangdog expression of early morning”

J. K. Rowling says this about early morning commuters: "Muggles bustled past wearing the hangdog expressions of early morning". While I do understand the meaning of the idiom (the same as 'morgensur' ...
1
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2answers
36 views

Is the phrase “fitting (someone) in (to a schedule)” alright to use or is there a better way to say this?

fit (someone) in (to a schedule) Is this phrase useful for scheduling meetings and appointments. When you're talking to someone with a busy schedule, you may have to ask them to "fit you in". "...
0
votes
1answer
131 views

A similar English proverb to Hindi/Urdu [duplicate]

We all have heard this proverb in Urdu and Hindi धोबी का कुत्ता न घर का न घाट का Literal translation The dog of the washerman belongs to neither the riverbank nor the house An alternative: ...
4
votes
1answer
83 views

“Call” as a noun that is not for naming or ringing up

Although I now know the meaning of "call" in these examples: You need to make a judgement call Not this time sorry, though it was a close call What do we do now? Your call — they were quite ...
0
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5answers
147 views

Polite form of “red herring” or a word or phrase meaning unintentional distraction

In another life I posted a comment calling someone's answer a "red herring" because I felt that it was distracting from the true problem: D3 is a red herring here. Your solution works because you ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Idiom or expression for no-one wants to help do a task, but everyone is ready to criticise after the task is completed

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that means "no-one wants to help do a task, but everyone is ready to criticise after the task is completed" There are plenty of expressions that capture the ...